The Nerve Mixtape With Two Gallants

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The Nerve Mixtape With Two Gallants

The Californian folk-rockers spill the secrets of musical seduction for us.

Two Gallants (Adam Stephens and Tyson Vogel) have been playing music together since they were twelve. They've taken their folky style to basements, warehouses, and street corners all across the U.S., and have released four albums since 2004. Their latest, The Bloom and the Blight, is out on ATO Records. Guitarist and vocalist Stephens shares his romantic playlist with us below.

1. Blaze Foley, "If I Could Only Fly"

Blaze Foley was a tragically underappreciated country songwriter. He lived and performed around Austin throughout the 1970s and '80s. Supposedly he lived in a tree for a while, and idolized Townes Van Zandt as a songwriter and an individual, which is to say he kept the bar rather low. Unfortunately, there aren't really any recordings that do his songs justice, but Live at the Austin Outhouse and Sittin' by the Road are the best I've heard.


2. Bob Dylan, "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go"

When I was sixteen, Blood On The Tracks was the soundtrack to a summer I spent apart from my high-school girlfriend. We didn't see each other for two months, which felt like an eternity to a naïve romantic teenager. This song so succinctly encapsulates the feeling of saying goodbye to someone forever. Dylan actually recorded an all-acoustic version of almost every song on the record with just bass and some organ accompaniment before recording with the full band as you hear it on the official record. For Bob Dylan nerds like myself it's an absolute necessity.


3. Michael Chapman, "You Say"

A good friend of mine recently turned me on to Michael Chapman. I can't seem to stop listening to him. I wouldn't say that he wrote too many love songs. Mostly songs of sexual frustration and estrangement. But he's a great guitar player, and a great songwriter.


4. Percy Sledge, "It Tears Me Up"

Not much needs to be said about Percy Sledge. There was a time when records sounded this warm and pure, when songs this direct were commonplace, and when singers were so capable of tapping into the emotions of the listener that the lyrics were almost inconsequential. Sadly, those days are far behind us.


5. The Fairport Convention, "Farewell Farewell"

While listening to this song, I like to imagine myself in some distant century, perhaps walking over a lush green hill in England or Scotland, with my back to the people and places that I love. Before me lie new valleys, dialects, customs, and loves that I have yet to discover. I'm probably a hopeless nostalgic, but it helps me cope with the time I was born into.


6. Moby Grape, "8:05"

I'm always shocked by how little recognition Moby Grape gets these days. I guess their time was brief, but their songs and musicianship were phenomenal. They're one of the few five-person bands I'm aware of in which every member sang and contributed to song writing. (I might be a little partial because they came out of San Francisco.) "8:05" is beautiful and innocent. It doesn't have the most mind-blowing lyrics, but the melody and the guitar playing make good lyrics a little superfluous.


7. The Miracles, "You Really Got A Hold On Me"

I recently escaped a relationship that was constant warfare. We used to joke that this song should play at our wedding, which fortunately never happened. Something about the opening lines "I don't like you, but I love you" seemed fitting.


8. Waylon Jennings, "The Door Is Always Open"

Dreaming My Dreams was the first Waylon Jennings record I ever bought. It's probably my favorite country record of all time.


9. Trillville, "Some Cut"

This is the perfect song to put on late at night when you've finally got that special someone back to a comfortable spot and it's time to show them your sensitive side. Light some fragrant candles, pour some red wine, turn on "Some Cut," and let him or her know you were made for loving.


10. David Allan Coe, "Divers Do It Deeper"

And if "Some Cut" doesn't work, follow it up with a little something from the master of bad taste and irreverence in country music, the self-proclaimed rhinestone cowboy: David Allan Coe.

Two Gallants photo by Burditt/Schiek